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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  March 14, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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>> caption colorado, llc your realtime captioner is linda marie macdonald. >> pelley: tonight, summ winter. in city after city, weather records were broken today, but the warming comes with a warning: a threat of flooding. reports from dean reynolds and john blackstone. the secretary of defense is safe after a security breach during a visit to afghanistan. chip reid is with secretary panetta. jim axelrod reports whitey bulger's girlfriend has explained how the former mob boss evaded capture. and mark strassmann on answering a call to arms with open arms. >> never again will we let our troops come back and not feel appreciated. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley.
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>> pelley: good evening. we're starting with weather and climate tonight because 300 temperature records have been matched or broken so far this week. take a look at the temperature map today. with all that orange in the east and midwest, all those 70s, this looks like a map that you might see in early summer. this is the warmest march 14 on record in milwaukee, 77 degrees; st. louis, 83 degrees; and chicago, 81. dean reynolds is in chicago and we asked him about the winter that wasn't. >> reporter: the sunny skies and balmy temperatures are bringing a smile to the face of thomas g. byrne, chicago's commissioner of streets and sanitation. is this a blessing? >> i think it's a blessing. it's not only a blessing for the city but these people that are living in the neighborhood. their heat bills alone, everybody should be thankful for what happened out here this
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winter and we're very pleased on what we've seen so far. >> reporter: last year, nearly five feet of snow fell on chicago. this year it's less than 20 inches, meaning the city spent $8.8 million less on overtime for snow removal. >> when you're working with snow, you're taking truck drivers and laborers and putting them into a snow program. >> reporter: and you're not doing that. >> we're not doing that this winter, it was a big plus for us. >> reporter: instead, crews are working on fair-weather pursuits like pothole filling and tree trimming. the story's the same across much of the country east of the rockies where the often snowbound are feeling almost summery. st. louis has spent only 30% of its normal snow-removal budget. boston has spent less than a fifth. >> you guys are set to go. >> reporter: but the balmy weather has been bad news for midwest mountain earring in minneapolis where their inventory, suitable for polar
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expeditions, is going nowhere. >> without snow, why buy skis and snow shoes? so what we did was we had to put them on sale for substantial discounts. >> reporter: nationally, 19% fewer snow shovels were sold this winter. snow-blower sales were off 32%. and rock salt sales were down 41%. and speaking of salt, scott, chicago is saving a lot on that, too. the city has set aside about 300,000 tons of the stuff to deal with snow emergencies but this winter used up only 95,000 tons which, when you think about it, really qualifies as just a pinch. >> pelley: well, there will be plenty for next year. dean, thanks very much. there's a prediction tonight about where warming may be leading in the long term. two scientific papers in the peer-reviewed journal "environmental research" look at rising seas caused by climate change and they conclude that nearly four million americans live in homes that will be more prone to flooding. here's john blackstone. >> reporter: while the new
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report says climate change could raise sea levels by only a few inches over the next decades, those few inches will be magnified by high tides and storms. by 2030, that could mean much of the american coastline may be in danger of severe flooding. ben strauss is a scientist with climate central, the nonprofit group that studies the potential impact of climate change. >> there are pockets of vulnerability all around the nation, including new york city, southern virginia, louisiana and both southern california and the bay area. >> reporter: for new york city, that means by 2030, there's a one in six chance floodwaters will rise five feet beyond current high tide levels. 100,000 homes would be at risk. in new orleans, 169,000 homes could be flooded. sea levels change constantly, of course, affected by everything from the weather to the pull of the moon. but measurements taken here on san francisco bay show the
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average sea level has risen eight inches in the past century. and that doesn't only mean more flooding. those higher sea levels also increase coastal erosion. in california, houses have already gone tumbling into the sea as the coast is worn away. but today's report says florida faces the greatest threat as sea levels rise. beach erosion is already an ongoing battle in some communities. the study says one out of ten homes in miami could be lost by 2030. there is disagreement among scientists about just how fast sea levels are rising and what should be done about it. and, scott, those still skeptical of climate change say studies like the ones released today are estimates with no proven forecasting ability. >> pelley: john, thank you very much. so why is it so warm so early? well, it's the high altitude wind called the jet stream. because of low pressure in the north atlantic, the jet stream
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has been pulled farther north than usual. that allows warm air to come up from the south and the jet stream has been like this all winter long. the army staff sergeant being held in the massacre of 16 civilians in afghanistan was flown today to a u.s. base in kuwait. defense secretary leon panetta flew to afghanistan today, and there was a security breach there. an afghan stole a nato truck and crashed it on to a runway at a british airfield just as panetta was landing. the pentagon said it does not believe that panetta was being targeted. our chip reid spoke with the secretary later about his visit. >> reporter: secretary of defense leon panetta arrived in southwest afghanistan today on a long-planned trip to meet with american and afghan coalition troops. he spoke to them at camp leather neck. on the agenda were the massacre of 16 innocent afghans last weekend, the mistaken burning of the koran by u.s. troops and the
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deaths of six americans in the riots that followed. later, he spoke with us about what he hopes to learn. >> whether he was on the edge, you know, what kind of counseling he had received. really try to understand the kind of stress that our troops go through when they're at war. >> reporter: do you think there will be specific changes in procedures as a result of this incident? >> well, i don't think there's any question we're going to... as i said, we're going to learn and we'll have to take all the steps that we can. >> reporter: he said he's concerned about the number of combat tours. >> it's got to have a hell of an impact. there's no question in my mind that when you go to the war zone time and time again, whether it's iraq or afghanistan there's no question in my mind that it impacts on individuals. >> reporter: do you think it's time to change the policy on multiple tours? >> well, i've always thought shorter deployments make better sense.
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you know that you're not going to be there that long, you'll be able to get back to your family. >> reporter: panetta says he disagrees with some administration officials who now want to accelerate the pace of the withdrawal. he insisted the war effort is succeeding and called the last 15 months a turning point. >> i think because of those that have paid the price for this war we owe it to them to stick to this mission and get it finished. >> reporter: as for the strained relationship between american and afghan troops, panetta said there are no guarantees, but for now cooperation is holding. chip reid, cbs news, kabul, afghanistan. >> pelley: the war in afghanistan dominated talks at the white house today between the president and british prime minister david cameron. they told reporters afterwards that they are sticking with the plan to put the afghans in charge of their own security over the next two years. on another issue, the president said he's determined to prevent iran from building an atomic bomb and he had this message for the iranians. >> i think they should
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understand that because the international community has applied so many sanctions that the window for solving this issue diplomatically is shrinking. >> pelley: to add to the tension, our david martin tells us that iranian planes and small boats closely shadowed the u.s. aircraft carrier "abraham lincoln" as it sailed through the strait of hormuz on monday. in the battle for the republican presidential nomination, more than half of the states have now voted. in the latest contests, rick santorum won the alabama primary last night and he took mississippi as well, beating mitt romney and newt gingrich in both contests in the deep south. romney finished first in the caucuses in hawaii last night. so far, romney has won 15 states, rick santorum 10, and newt gingrich two. greg smith resigned today as an executive director of goldman
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sachs, but not before taking an extraordinary parting shot. writing in the "new york times," smith said that the giant investment bank has "lost its integrity. more concerned about making money than helping clients. it makes me ill" smith wrote "how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. i have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as muppets." the chairman of goldman sachs, lloyd blankfein, said today the allegations "do not reflect our values, our culture and how the vast majority of people at goldman sachs think about the firm." a florida woman had her own fight with a bank and this week we learned that lynn szymoniak will be paid $18 million for uncovering a massive foreclosure fraud. on monday, four top banks agreed to pay $95 million to settle charges that they used fraudulent paperwork in
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thousands of foreclosures. szymoniak discovered the scheme while fighting her own foreclosure. it was in 2008 that lynn szymoniak got her foreclosure notice. in the first court appearance, her bank said that it had lost her paperwork. the case wasn't going anywhere until the bank came back to court a second time. they found all of your paperwork more than a year after they initially said that they had lost it. >> yes. >> pelley: did that seem suspicious to you? >> yes, absolutely. you know... and what do you imagine? did it fall behind the file cabinet? where was all of this? we had it, we own it, we lost it and then more recently everyone is coming in saying "hey, we found it. isn't that wonderful?" >> pelley: szymoniak is a lawyer with special training in spotting forgeries. she got ahold of the bank's newfound mortgage documents and saw that they were signed by a bank vice president named linda green. next, szymoniak went online and
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looked at hundreds of florida mortgage records. >> then i began to find the strange signatures. >> pelley: she found linda green had many signatures and green was a vice president at a lot of banks-- all at the same time. green had signed thousands of documents. >> all within the same week. i mean, this is a very, very active person. >> pelley: in a "60 minutes" investigation we tracked the linda green paperwork to a document mill here in georgia. so you're linda green? >> yes, can't you tell? ( laughs ) >> pelley: chris pendley showed us how he and other low-wage employees signed documents as vice president linda green. szymoniak had discovered a secret. back when the banks were making a fortune churning out mortgages, the paperwork was sloppy. when the foreclosure wave hit, a lot of that paper was missing, and that's what the document mill was trying to replace. >> in my mind, this is an absolute intentional fraud.
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>> pelley: szymoniak filed a whistle-blower lawsuit on behalf of the federal government under the false claims act. her $18 million is a percentage of the money that the government recovered. new guidelines for cervical cancer screenings. security screenings at airports are changing for some passengers. and she helped hide a notorious fugitive for 16 years. now she's facing justice. when the "cbs evening news" continues. to make them feel ♪ you make me happy [ female announcer ] that's why you choose children's tylenol. the same brand your mom trusted for you when you were young. ♪ how much i love you [ humming ] [ female announcer ] children's tylenol, the #1 brand of pain and fever relief recommended by pediatricians and used by moms decade after decade. [ humming ]
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>> pelley: whitey bulger, the notorious boston mobster, spent nearly two decades on the f.b.i.'s most wanted list. today his girlfriend pleaded guilty to helping him hide from the feds. and we learned how they stayed on the run all those years. jim axelrod reports from boston. >> reporter: catherine grieg may end up getting less than three years if prison for three guilty pleas to charges of helping whitey bulger evade capture for 16 years. painfully inadequate for relatives of bulger's alleged 19 murder victims. steven davis believes bulger's responsible for his sister's death. >> we're spending tax dollars keeping her here and fighting this. >> reporter: but is this a dollars and cents issue. >> no, it has nothing do with dollars and cents. it's... looking for the justice and 32 months isn't justice. >> reporter: grieg was arrested with bulger in california last
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june. they ended up hiding in plain sight at an apartment complex in santa monica after she and bulger fled boston. while grieg gave federal agents details of the couple's time on the run-- how they changed identities frequently, used stolen social security numbers, and paid cash for rent-- she gave no details about the killings. which means all eyes here in boston now move to november when whitey bulger himself is scheduled to stand trial. is it possible he could make a plea deal as well? at 82, chances are bulger will probably die in prison either way. which is why former u.s. attorney don stern, who oversaw the bulger investigation for eight years, doesn't think bulger will make a deal. >> mr. bulger will see this as what do i have to lose? i might as well go to trial. and i think... my guess is that there's a part of him that will enjoy the circus and it's going to be a circus. >> reporter: the government may have its own incentive for a
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trial-- giving boston what it hasn't yet had: a full accounting of whitey bulger's alleged crimes. jim axelrod, cbs news, boston. >> pelley: some older passengers will have an easier time at airport security screenings starting on monday. the t.s.a. says those who are 75 and older can keep their shoes and light outer ware on. the changes will start in chicago, denver, orlando and portland, oregon, but they may be expanded nationwide. there are changes coming for a different kind of screening. new guidelines for cervical cancer next. flavor boost. concentrated broth in easy to use packets. mix it into skillet dishes, for an instant dose of... hell-o! [ female announcer ] new swanson flavor boost.
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>> pelley: the government put out new guidelines today for screening for cervical cancer. the disease is highly preventable but it still kills more than 4,000 women in this country every year. we asked dr. jon lapook to tell us about these new recommendations. >> okay, bend your knees. >> reporter: the new guidelines present women and their doctors with a difficult decision. for decades, women have been told to get a pap smear as often as once a year. while the new recommendation calls for a test every three years for women 21 to 65, some ages 30 to 65 are being told they can wait five years if they get an additional test for human papillomavirus, or h.p.v. the pap smear looks for abnormal cells in the cervix. the h.p.v. test looks for the viruses that causes virtually all serve secretary of defense.
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the task force says waiting five years is reasonable because if both pap and h.p.v. tests are negative, women are at low risk for developing server. gynecologist dr. joan kent is just starting to talk about the new guidelines with their patients. >> half were thrilled we could prolong the interval testing and about half said no, i'd rather you go ahead and do the testing anyway. >> reporter: what's your comfort level with going to five years? >> i think in a lot of situations i would be comfortable with three years. five years i think is a jump for many of us who were trained to do a pap test annually. i don't know how i'd feel about five years yet. >> reporter: screening too frequently can lead to false alarms and unnecessary worry, testing, and procedures. the problem from the doctors' point of view is we don't want to miss anything, even if it's once in a blue moon. so it's a balancing act between the guidelines and what we're comfortable doing in our practices. >> pelley: doctor, thank you very much. police in pennsylvania are investigating a deadly crash
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>> pelley: finally tonight, as president obama condemned the massacre of civilians in afghanistan, he also reminded us of the enormous sacrifices that americans in uniform are making in that country today. and for troops who might have thought they'd been forgotten, mark strassmann tells us an all- volunteer force has been waiting to welcome them home with open arms. >> reporter: these 100 soldiers returned to u.s. soil after seven months in afghanistan and iraq. and 300 strangers greeted them like family. mailman randy grizzle has been part of this welcoming for eight years. >> i cry everyday. ( laughs ) >> reporter: you cry everyday? >> uh-huh. there's something out there that... ( laughs ) that will just bring a tear to your eye and you're a part of it. >> reporter: the volunteers of "welcome home a hero" have greeted more than 900,000 vets passing through the dallas airport since 2004.
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>> welcome home, thank you. >> that's me with my m-16. >> reporter: grizzle was wounded twice in vietnam. he still wears his purple heart on his chest. >> when we came home it was... there was nobody at the airport to do anything like that for us. >> reporter: what was it like to come home to that? >> disheartening really. that was hard to understand. >> let them know how proud of them you are. >> reporter: donna cranston, the mother of an iraq veteran, helped organize "welcome home a hero." >> welcome home, sergeant. >> reporter: why was it considered important to do? >> never again. never again will we let our troops come back and not feel appreciated. that's the bottom line. we wanted them to know that we support you, we appreciate you. ( applause ) >> thank you very much. >> reporter: sergeant eugene garner back from afghanistan felt more than appreciated. the father of four was overwhelmed. >> it was totally unexpected and it's just... it... it's... gets you right in the heart, you know?
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>> reporter: but today's home coming in dallas was the final one for these volunteers. with a war in iraq over, the military is ending the rest and recuperation flights that brought troops through dallas. >> thank you, welcome home. >> reporter: randy grizzle estimates he has greeted more than 250,000 vets. every hand shake has helped him heal. >> i know. i know. >> reporter: they'll turn around and when they're leaving they'll look over their shoulder and say "thank you." and, you know, that means a whole lot to me. >> welcome home, thank you. >> reporter: thank you. a second day of rain, and a lot more damage: good evening, i'm allen martin. >> i'm dana king. a second day of rain and a lot more damage. >> three trees toppled on this
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home in sonoma county. this is near the russia river taking down wires and then the pole. >> the storm also flooded roads in wine country. this is the intersection of highways 121 and 12. at its peak this morning that water was up to a foot and a half deep. >> mobile5 in contra costa county. right now in orinda, pg&e crews busy dealing with this tangled mess of trees and power lines. nearly 40 customers without power in the area now. >> we have a team of reporters keeping an eye on the storm. first joe vazquez has the damage in montclair. usually a bay area storm comes through quickly. this one hung around all day overstaying its welcome of the and for most of us it's obnoxious. for that candy store across


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